By Carlos Correa

STOCKTON (CBS13) — Hundreds of volunteers are sharpening their skills in an exercise intended to help people around the state.

The training held in Stockton focused on area flooding.

The California Conservation Corps is a group not a lot of people know about, but their work has made a long-lasting impact around the state.

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When Robert Fisser, 22, was searching for a career, he turned to the oldest and largest conservation corps in the nation. It was a group willing to give him an opportunity.

“Most jobs, they are looking for a lot of job experience which most people around my age don’t have,” he said.

The corps. trains its members in conservation and emergency response, which includes earthquakes, fires and floods. Most members are between the ages of 18 and 25.

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“We have over 200 personnel here that are doing various flood fighting methods. There is sack topping, which is putting sandbags on top of levees so the water doesn’t wash over. They are doing structure protection,” said Cathy Barr, conservation supervisor.

During the corps’ flood training, members learn how a simple tool like a sandbag can play an important role in fighting flood and saving homes.

“It gives young folks from all different backgrounds and walks of life an opportunity to provide a service to California,” said Bruce Saito, with California Conservation Corps.

Members say the corps is opening doors and giving them skills and opportunities they didn’t have before.

“I learned how to actually properly use a shovel, I can run a chainsaw now, I made lasting friends that I never knew I could be friends with,” said corps member Brenda Castro.

Earlier this year, crews assisted Cal Fire and Caltrans with debris removal and flood prevention.

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